Peter T. Coleman


Peter T. Coleman

Peter Tali Coleman (December 8, 1919 – April 28, 1997) was the first person of Samoan descent to be appointed Governor of American Samoa and later became the territory's first popularly elected governor. A member of the Republican Party, he is the only U.S. governor whose service spanned five decades (1956–1961, 1978–1985 and 1989–1993) and one of the longest-serving governors of any jurisdiction in American history. | Born in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Coleman graduated from Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He later joined the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain during World War II. He received his law degree from Georgetown University, and served in American Samoa both as a public defender and as the territory's attorney general. Coleman was appointed governor of American Samoa in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. At the conclusion of his term, he served a variety of positions in the Pacific Islands, including: district administrator for the Marshall Islands; district administrator for the Marianas Islands and deputy high commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and then served as acting high commissioner for one year. | In 1977, Coleman became the first popularly elected governor of American Samoa. He was subsequently elected in 1980 and 1988.

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